grand designs Australia home

Grand Designs Australia: Pursuit of Happiness


An architect builds his forever home — but not as you know it

They say the home is a reflection of the soul, and for architect and homeowner Robert Puksand, his is bursting with energy, colour and pure joy. Revolving around the concept of creating a happy place, the Field House is proof that good things happen when you go with your gut.

Already living in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, Robert and his wife Joanne were keen to move closer to the beach, so when a site came up for grabs, they didn’t hesitate.

“There was an existing property on the site which was demolished,” says Robert. “But we lived in the house for a couple of years while we were sorting out the permits.”With their two kids well and truly out of the nest, Robert and Joanne decided to create a residence that would take them into the next phase of their lives together. “The project enabled us to get organised and create an easy-living, low-maintenance home with space for returning children, visiting friends and potential grandchildren,” says Robert.

With a new build comes the opportunity to address everything you missed out on in previous homes and live your life the way you want to — a notion Robert was more than happy to run with. Such luxury additions included a four-car garage, gym, artist’s studio, laundry and a generous master bedroom suite.

“Being an architect, I was happy for the house to be a little different and experimental,” he says. “The most important part of the brief was that it needed to be a happy house, just like our family. Translating happiness to a house means that it can’t be too serious and needs to create delight.”And delight the Field House does, but the project faced some potential setbacks along the way, spurring some serious innovation. One of the permit requirements ruled that the first floors couldn’t overlook the neighbours’ private spaces, prompting the inclusion of the floating wall planes.

We have tried to create a home which does more than make us feel safe — we have created a home that makes us feel good and engages our senses

“In effect, the walls act like horses’ blinkers in that they limit the views over adjacent properties but still enable an unrestricted view over the external living spaces and the pool area,” says Robert. “I thought it would be really cool to design a house where it felt like you were living in a sculpture rather than a traditional building.”Inspired by his passion for art, Robert took a different approach that revolved around making plain walls interesting rather than embellishing them with endless finishes.

“In order to make the wall planes more noticeable, we have run with a white theme for the primary walls and black for the walls we don’t want to be noticed,” says Robert. “When we were designing the house, we had a theory that when you see the convex curved wall ends layered over each other, it would start to make other crescent shapes appear, so the house would become an evolving series of patterns and shapes.

We also have bright pops of colour to create an element of surprise when you walk through the house.” Evidence of this concept is found in the kitchen, with the orange island bench offering some serious curves and appearing as a piece of art rather than a place to prepare meals.Quashing the concept that the home is all about clean lines and peace and quiet, the Field House is a capsule of happiness, light and excitement.

As Robert says, “We have tried to create a home which does more than make us feel safe — we have created a home that makes us feel good and engages our senses.”

Originally from magaine, Issue 5.5
Written by Annabelle Cloros
Photography by Shannon McGrath